The Honourable Marcia Neave AO

For decades The Honourable Marcia Neave AO has been involved in shaping changes to the laws that bind and define our community.

Honour Roll

She has had a particular interest in the way the law affects women, particularly poor or powerless women. In her mind the law can be contradictory. On the one hand, the powerless often look to the law for a remedy. On the other hand the law has often been an instrument for the preservation of the status quo.

"The law historically reflected the experiences of men because the people who made the law, and the people who applied the law, and the people to whom the law was generally applied, were men," she said. Law reform is therefore one important element of building a more just and inclusive society.

The Honourable Marcia Neave has made a substantial contribution to changes in the legal systems of the Victoria, New South Wales and Australia. Her work was recognised with her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1999 and her appointment to senior academic positions at Australian and American Universities, including a Personal Chair in Law at Monash University.

In addition to her published work on prostitution law reform, property law, family law, trusts and administrative law, Marcia has received a large number of statutory and ministerial appointments to both State and Commonwealth Government bodies. In 2000, with the re-establishment of the Victorian Law Reform Commission she was appointed as the first Chairperson and full-time Commissioner. Under her leadership, the Commission has worked on a range of significant proposals, including the removal of the defence of provocation in murder trials, changes to the criminal justice system's handling of rape and sexual assault cases, and increased access for single women and lesbians to IVF services.